E.W. Scripps Folding TrueReal Digital Network Into Defy TV


E.W. Scripps Co., which has been a leader in the digital broadcast network business, said it will fold TrueReal into its Defy TV network.

TrueReal’s last day as a standalone network will be March 27.

Scripps launched both Defy TV and TrueReal in 2021 (TrueReal had originally been named Doozy but got a makeover before its debut.). In adding to its over-the-air network portfolio, Scripps was taking advantage of its acquisition of Ion Media, which made Scripps the biggest holder of broadcast spectrum in the U.S.

“Scripps is constantly evaluating the best ways to find value from its spectrum. A decision was reached to merge TrueReal and Defy TV, taking the most popular programs from each service, while retaining the established Defy branding,” Scripps said in a statement. “This programming decision opened an opportunity to lease spectrum to Jewelry Television, which sells men’s and women’s jewelry online and on air.”

Scripps Networks, the unit that runs the company’s national channels, reported a 9.2% drop in revenue in the fourth quarter. Segment profit fell from $106 million a year ago to $80 million. The company blamed a slow ad market for the downturn.

Also Read: Scripps Networks Get Carriage on Google, YouTube Platform

The Scripps national networks include Ion, Bounce, Laff, Grit, Defy, Ion Mystery, Court TV and Scripps News, formerly known as Newsy.

The over-the-air digital network category has been growing as cord-cutters discover the vast amounts of programming available for free with an antenna. Companies including Weigel Broadcasting, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar Media Group and Tegna operate popular diginets.

Scripps Networks has been aggressively distributing its national networks on cable and streaming platforms in addition to over the air.

Many of the networks became part of Scripps when it acquired Katz Broadcasting for $302 million in 2017. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.